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31. Keep Your Skin Dry
Make sure that drying your feet is part of your hygiene routine. The space between the toes is very airtight, says Tillet. Skin gets moist and breaks down, leading to infection. Prevent this by toweling off thoroughly after washing your feet and by removing wet or sweaty socks or shoes immediately. You can still use moisturizer to prevent dry, cracked skin just avoid putting it between your toes.
32. Treat Foot Woes Promptly
Attend to bunions, calluses, corns, hammertoes, and other aggravations promptly, so they dont lead to infection due to pressure sores and uneven rubbing. Even seemingly harmless calluses may become problems if you ignore them, notes Tillet. See a podiatrist, a doctor who specializes in foot care, instead of heading to the pharmacy for an over-the-counter product for feet some products are irritating to your skin and can actually increase the risk of infection even while they treat the bunion, callus, or corn on your foot.
33. Consider Orthotics
Because wearing the correct shoes is so important, orthotic footwear is a great investment in protection and comfort. Shoes made especially for people with diabetes are available at specialty stores and through catalogs, or you can visit your podiatrist for advice. Medicare Part B will cover one pair of depth-inlay or custom-molded diabetic shoes a year, plus additional inserts to reduce pressure on your feet. Your doctor may recommend this type of diabetic shoe if you have an ulcer or sore that is not healing.
34. Opt for Non Impact Aerobics
People with diabetes benefit from exercise, but you still must go easy on your feet. Many fitness classes and aerobics programs include bouncing, jumping, and leaping, which may not be the best activities for your feet, especially if you have neuropathy. Instead, look into programs, such as walking, that dont put too much pressure on your feet. Just make sure you have the right shoe for whatever activity you choose.
35. Quit Smoking Now
The dangers of smoking run from your head to your feet. The nicotine in a cigarette can decrease the circulation in the skin by 70 percent, says Tillet. So if you smoke, you are depriving your feet of the nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood that helps keep them healthy and fights infection. Diabetic patients already have risk factors that compromise their blood vessels. Its never too late to stop smoking, says Tillet.
36. Control Blood Sugar
Theres a direct relationship between blood sugar level and damage to the nerve cells, says Tillet. Out-of-control blood sugar leads to neuropathy, which will make it hard to know when your feet are at risk or being damaged. The better you are at controlling your blood sugar, the healthier your feet will be over the long term. Finally, if you already have an infection, high blood sugar levels can make it hard for your body to fight it.
37. Get Regular Checkups
Your doctor and your diabetes team are great sources of information if you need ideas and inspiration for taking care of your feet, quitting smoking, or staying on top of your numbers your weight, blood sugar, and other measures of health, such as blood pressure. Of course, if you notice any changes in your feet that concern you, its a good idea to see your doctor before your next regularly scheduled check-up.
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